A British man has been found frozen seemingly months after he died after seeking shelter during an Alpine hike in a mountain hut, unaware that it had been closed for the winter and was no longer suitable for habitation.
The British man who was not named but is 36-years-old had been living in the municipality of Buers in the district of Bludenz where he had a job as a ski instructor in the winter and in the summer as a guide.
Police said that for unknown reasons the man had been in the mountains and moved into the hut to seek food and shelter.
A police spokesman told Newsflash: “The Sarotla-Huette mountain hut is located at 1600 m on the mountain and is actually three huts combined into one, one is a small restaurant, the other is for local farmers and shepherds, and the third is organised by the Austrian Alpine Association, responsible for maintaining alpine huts.
The hut had already been closed up and was last visited on the 15 November when the route was still open, before the first snow falls and the arrival of the winter tourism season which this year was considerably restricted anyway because of the coronavirus restrictions.
The police said it was unclear if the British man was caught unexpectedly still high in the mountains, and had decided to seek shelter there rather than trying to make it back down into the valley, or whether he had been squatting there.
They said that either way he had forced his way in, unaware that part of the procedure of securing the huts for the winter also involved removing the chimney and sealing it with a plate so that snow did not get inside.
This had been done on 15 November when the hut was last visited.
The British man was unaware of this, and lit the fire, and died from carbon monoxide poisoning. After the fire died down, the inside of the hut then froze, freezing the British man’s body which has only now found two months later by two honorary members of the Austrian Alpine Association.
Police have confirmed they are not looking for anyone else in connection with the man’s death from carbon monoxide poisoning, saying he must have been unaware that the chimney had been sealed off with the metal plate.
A police spokesman said: “We believe he forced his way into the hut in order to spend the night there. We know that the body was there for some time, but the exact amount of time is part of the investigation. It’s also unclear whether he was squatting there or had been seeking shelter overnight. We found some evidence that he had used a gas heater for a while, before then using the fire when that ran out.”
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Story By: James King, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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